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Rachel A. Van Woezik, Alex J. Benson and Mark W. Bruner

Injuries are commonplace in high-intensity sport, and research has explored how athletes are psychologically affected by such events. As injuries carry implications for the group environment in sport teams, the authors explored what occurs within a team during a time period of injury from a coach perspective and how high-performance coaches manage a group at this time. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 Canadian university basketball head coaches. Thematic analysis revealed four high-order themes in relation to how coaches managed group dynamics from the moment of the injury event to an athlete’s reintegration into the lineup. Strategies to mitigate the negative effects of injury on the group environment while prioritizing athlete well-being involved remaining stoic at the time of an injury event, maintaining the injured athlete’s sense of connection to the team, and coordinating with support staff throughout the recovery and reintegration process.

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Mark W. Bruner, Mark Eys, Jeremie M. Carreau, Colin McLaren and Rachel Van Woezik

Team building (TB) is recognized as one of the most prevalent and promising group-development interventions applied in sport. However, most coaches lack the necessary information to effectively and efficiently target and enhance specific group characteristics and processes. The aim of this study was to develop and apply the Team Environment AssessMent (TEAM) to better inform a TB intervention. Twenty-three male adolescent athletes (mean age 17.9 years) from an elite hockey team completed the TEAM and measures of cohesion before and after a TB intervention. Based on initial TEAM scores, role acceptance and leadership were identified and purposefully targeted in the TB intervention. Athletes’ perceptions of role acceptance, leadership, and task cohesion were stronger after the TB intervention. Furthermore, follow-up interviews with team members and coaches provided additional empirical support for the utility of the TEAM to assess and enhance the efficiency of a TB intervention in sport.

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Jordan D. Herbison, Terry W. Cowan, Luc J. Martin, Zach Root and Mark W. Bruner

This study sought to examine coaches’ perceptions of social identity among their athletes and explore the ways that they may attempt to influence its development. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 12 head coaches (M age = 49.25 years; SD = 6.5 years; M experience  = 15.75 years; SD = 7.66 years; n female = 1) of male (n = 8) and female (n = 4) competitive youth ice hockey teams. Three main themes were identified through our analysis. First, the coaches’ perceptions of athletes’ social identities were described through examples of peer connection and similarity (i.e., in-group ties), athletes’ experience of positive affect (i.e., in-group affect), and athletes demonstrating the meaning and value that they attribute to team membership (i.e., cognitive centrality). Second, the coaches discussed a variety of ways that they sought to develop and reinforce a shared social identity within their teams. These behaviors aligned with principles advanced within the social identity leadership literature—namely, the coaches acted as in-group prototypes, in-group champions, entrepreneurs of identity, and embedders of identity. Finally, the coaches identified parents and cliques as key social agents with the ability to undermine social identity development. The findings are discussed in relation to both their theoretical and practical implications.

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Mark W. Bruner, Jeremie M. Carreau, Kathleen S. Wilson and Michael Penney

The purpose of this study was to investigate youth athletes’ perceptions of group norms for competition, practice, and social setting contexts in relation to personal and social factors. A secondary purpose of this study was to examine the interactions of the personal and situation factors on perceptions of group norms. Participants included 424 athletes from 35 high school sport teams who completed a survey assessing team norms in competition, practice, and social settings. Multilevel analysis results revealed differences in group norms by gender as well as gender by team tenure and gender by sport type interactions. Female teams held higher perceptions of norms for competition, practice, and social settings than male teams. Interactions between gender and team tenure and gender and sport type revealed significant differences in practice norms. No differences were found in norms by group size. The findings suggest that examining the characteristics of the team members (i.e., gender, team tenure) and team (i.e., type of sport) may enhance our understanding of group norms in a youth sport setting.

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Mark W. Bruner, Ian D. Boardley, Veronica Allan, Christopher Forrest, Zachary Root and Jean Côté

Social identity has been found to play a salient role in regulating teammate behavior among youth participating in a range of sports (Bruner, Boardley, & Côté, 2014). This study aimed to better understand social identity by examining how it may influence intrateam moral behavior specifically in competitive youth ice hockey. Thirty-six male and female competitive youth ice hockey players from nine teams participated in narrative interviews. Using a thematic narrative analysis, three distinct narratives were identified: (1) family-oriented team narrative, (2) performance-oriented team narrative, and (3) dominance-oriented team narrative. Within each of the narratives, a reciprocal relationship between social identity and intrateam moral behavior was reported such that young athletes’ social identities developed through team membership may influence and be influenced by their moral behavior toward teammates. Collectively, the results extend previous research by providing an in-depth qualitative understanding of social identity and intrateam moral behavior in youth sport.

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Mark W. Bruner, Karen E. Chad, Jodie A. Beattie-Flath, M. Louise Humbert, Tanya C. Verrall, Lan Vu and Nazeem Muhajarine

This study monitored the physical activity behavior of adolescent students over a ten month school year. Physical activity was assessed at two month intervals using selfreport and objective (Actical accelerometers) measures. Self-report results (n = 547) indicated a decline in physical activity throughout the school year for all grades and genders. The decline was attributed largely to a decrease in organized activity participation. Objective physical activity results (n = 40) revealed a significant decline in activity in the latter half of the school year (February to June). Declining physical activity was attributed to a decrease in vigorous activity which was consistent across grade and gender. Collectively, the results highlight the importance of promoting consistent opportunities for adolescents to be active throughout the school year.